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As a present to ourselves this holiday, my wife and I are renovating our kitchen. It is something that we have spoken about doing for the past couple of years and we felt this holiday was the time to do it. We asked family to dispense with the knick-knacks and sweaters they usually give us and pool their money into cash or Home Depot gift cards towards our kitchen.

This is the second home improvement project we have engaged in. Several years before this, we decided to remove our carpets for hardwood floors. The job was to take one week. It was never completed. I got fed up with the company we hired when I came home from work one day and found our foreman, his assistant, and the owner sitting in my living room drinking espresso and smoking, while the one non-White laborer was in the bedroom hammering in the floors.

With that experience in mind, my wife and I steeled ourselves for this current renovation project. We were fortunate enough to have a friend put our family up for the week of the project. Our friend also happens to have a lot of experience with renovations. The contractor we hired had done work for my wife’s family and came highly recommended. Unlike the people we hired to do our floors.

The project was to take one week. We are now entering our third. My wife and I are both stressed – Me more than her. Environment is very important to me. This is where I am inflexible. It’s my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I am not a neat freak but I do need to “control” my space. I do need things in “order.”

My wife and my sons have moved back in for fear of losing a friend from overstaying our welcome. I had been staying at our home throughout the renovation. I have a routine that I follow in the mornings that helps keep me sane Nine-to-Five, Monday through Friday. That’s probably part of my OCD as well.

I must say that the delay is no fault of our contractor. It’s ours, my wife and mine. Our cabinets did not arrive on time and when they did, half the order was missing. We went to several stores before we could locate the appliances we wanted. We only just met with the person who will work with the stone yard to install cut and install our counter.

And this is what makes it more painful. The knowledge that it is our fault we are so far behind schedule. I have never been good at sacrificing “great for good” and am feeling the ramifications of sacrificing “good for great.” And what’s most ironic is that in a few years, in hindsight, great won’t be all that great. We’re going to tell ourselves: “We should have done this, We should have done that…” It’s just who we are.

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